“We are animals, certainly. Anyone who forgets that we are animals is very disfocused and unlikely to obtain a higher state. There is no point to attaining a higher state unless you are in an animal body. Animals don’t need a higher state. Presumably if you’re out of a body you don’t need a higher state either. A fundamental question that used to be part of most philosophy was why are we here? Why do we exist? What is the purpose of this so-called meaningless existence where we are born, we have a few fun years and then we proceed to get old and sick and tired and worn out…Ron Mangravite, Transformation of the Self and the Universe, part one, tape one, March 25, 1995, Athens, Georgia,
In pursuing spirituality, in meditation, in pursuing anything with true dedication and passion, you are an animal trying to reach the heavens aka the light.
You are trying to transcend -to go beyond the range or limits- of our base animal instincts and reactions and become more “godlike.”
The animal in us hates the light. The animal wants nothing more than to “namastayinbed.” The animal wants to stay stuck in the same old routines and patterns.
For example, have you ever really thought about smiling?
If you doubt you have an animal body, take one look at your smile.
Walk on over to the mirror, and smile at yourself.
What do you see?
You see a human with their lips stretched, the ends of those lips turning up. You may see teeth.
The eyes may be squinting, cheekbones lifting. The nostrils may flair.
This face is happy, safe, welcoming. It is a pleasant thing to see.
But it’s not for a cat.
When a cat stretches their mouth open, ‘lips’ stretched, it’s not being friendly, it’s hissing. It’s defending it’s territory. It’s sending a warning that you had best be careful and approach with extreme caution.
The cat will take a long time to transcend -to move beyond- hissing behavior. It may never happen.
But – given a few hundred thousand years and an awful lot of inner work – there may be a smiling cat who is actually smiling in the fashion that we humans do.
We once behaved as animals, hissing at what we did not know or understand. Some of us still do this, but in more ‘civilized ways.”
Just go google the whole “Karen” phenomenon that surged into meme popularity the last couple of years and that demonstrates “civilized” hissing. (What’s a Karen?)
No doubt you learned that a smile is warm and inviting. Do you remember when or where you learned that?
Can you think of instances where a smile is not friendly and welcoming?
What other behaviors have you learned? When did you learn them? What were the circumstances?
Thinking about just one behavior, does it benefit you today? How?
Try changing the behavior for a day. What do you think might happen if you changed or entirely removed the behavior?
How does thinking about changing the behavior make you feel?
What else does this bring up for you?
It’s not that you have to have all of the answers to all of the questions today. It’s more than you learn to honor this kind of questioning, and that you question everything.
This kind of ‘work’ is done to unravel your egoic structure and transcend the animal. It is deep and profound.
It will change you from the inside out, and you will be utterly the same as you were before. In fact, most folks will think you’re the same person you always have been.